Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


of Cicero continued to dominate the course. So once more, as
in the latter days of the Italian Renaissance, Ciceronianism was
in the ascendant, and humanism, which had entered the schools
as a vitalizing force, was already on the downward path
towards a soulless pre-occupation with verbal forms.


All the while the followers of Luther were working out an
educational system to meet the needs of the German States
which had adopted his principles, similar movements were going
on in other Protestant countries. Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531),
for example, who led an independent revolt against Rome about
the same time as Luther, published a short treatise on The
Christian Education of Boys in 1523, which was the first book
to be written on education from the Protestant point of view.
Besides advocating the study of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew,
and setting forth a systematic course of Scriptural instruction,
he recommended nature study, arithmetic, music, and various
forms of physical exercise. His efforts at educational reform,
however, were cut short by his untimely death in battle, and
nothing much came of them.

A few years later, another educational movement began in
Geneva which was destined to have momentous results, first
in Switzerland, and afterwards in France, Holland, England,
Scotland and America. The central figure in this movement
was John Calvin (1509-1569), a man as.forceful in his own way
as Luther, and far greater both as scholar and statesman. Born
in Picardy, the son of a man who had risen from humble rank
to a position of some dignity as an ecclesiastical lawyer, he went
to the university of Paris at the age of fourteen as a student of
arts, and under Mathurin Cordier and other teachers made
marked progress in humanistic studies. Thence he proceeded
somewhat against his own wishes to study law at Orleans and
Bourges. But all the while his heart was in the humanities;
and as soon as the way was clear he returned to them, and gave
evidence of his remarkable abilities in a commentary on one of
Seneca's works which he published at the age of twenty-two.